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Free UTA passes offered, for those who are quick

Published June 10, 2013 3:46 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The first 2,500 people who pledge to help reduce summer air pollution by riding transit during July will receive a free seven-day pass to ride Utah Transit Authority buses and trains — a $50 value.

Zions Bank and the UTA teamed up to create the program, called Ride Clear, to help reduce pollution that can be bad during the dog days of summer. The first 2,500 people who register at utarideclear.com will be mailed a free seven-day pass good on TRAX, FrontRunner and UTA buses.

They are electronic passes, so patrons will need to remember to tap on and tap off when boarding. The pass is good for seven consecutive days of travel once activated after the first tap, and are good for travel between July 1 and 31.

"We looked at the air quality issue and felt like we had a unique opportunity to do something to help," said UTA General Manager Michael Allegra. "We hope people take advantage of this new program, especially on days when the air is really bad. Taking any cars off the road during times when the summer air stagnates is good for everyone."

UTA noted that Salt Lake and Davis counties experienced 34 yellow and nine red air days last summer. The Utah Department of Air Quality estimates that one in three Utahns experience respiratory problems during poor air quality days.

Earlier this year, Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, asked appropriators at the Legislature to spend $9 million to allow everyone to ride UTA for free in July and January. He said that would allow collecting data on how free fares would increase ridership and help clean air pollution in two of the most troublesome months for clean air. However, appropriators did not act on his request.